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Foreign ministry requests consent to check lawmakers' nationality

Foreign ministry requests consent to check lawmakers' nationality

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has asked the Legislative Yuan to provide letters of consent from legislators that would enable it to investigate whether any of them have foreign nationality.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh said Tuesday that the appeal was made after the legislature asked the ministry the previous day to perform this check. The Legislative Yuan's request included personal data on all lawmakers.
Yeh said, the ministry asked lawmakers to provide English letters of consent because such checks involve personal privacy issues.
She added that the ministry also asked the lawmaking body to narrow down the number of countries it wanted the ministry to check, as there are nearly 200 nations in the world and each has its own laws and administrative procedures.
"If the Legislative Yuan can name certain countries for us to investigate first, it would be more specific, practical and time-effective," she said.
The Cabinet is now undergoing a two-stage investigation into whether government officials hold permanent residency in foreign countries.
The first-stage, which focused on all ministry heads, found that two officials hold residency rights in another country and none have foreign citizenship.
Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said the Cabinet will soon carry out similar checks on diplomatic officials and will focus especially on whether they hold U.S. permanent residency status, or green cards.
In response, Yeh said the MOFA will discuss and decide on an appropriate measure for background checks as soon as possible in accordance with the Cabinet's instruction.
The investigation of foreign residency status comes as opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers are challenging the allegiance of several officials in the Kuomintang administration over dual citizenship and U.S. green card issues.
The issue gained the spotlight last week after Foreign Minister Francisco H.L. Ou apologized for obtaining a U.S. green card in 2005 when he was the ROC ambassador to Guatemala. He said he officially renounced the status one month before assuming his ministerial position May 20.
The Nationality Act forbids Republic of China nationals with foreign citizenship from assuming public office and requires those with foreign citizenship to be removed from their posts. The law, however, does not forbid public servants from holding permanent resident status in a foreign country.
President Ma Ying-jeou's administration has come under fire from the opposition, which argues that green card-holding officials may not be loyal to the country.


Updated : 2020-12-05 03:23 GMT+08:00